[The following is a guest post by Polina Raygorodskaya of Polina Fashion. Polina Fashion LLC is a New York-based fashion PR and marketing firm that also specializes in live events, fashion shows, and photo shoot production. © 2009 Polina Fashion LLC, All rights reserved. info[at]polinafashion.com]
Here are ten tips you, as a new designer can leverage on your own.
10. Do Your Research
Know what the magazines you are pitching to write about, who their audience is, and make sure your pitches coincide with the type of content they normally write. Most magazines have Editorial Calendars available which tell what each month’s issue will be about for the year. When contacting a reporter, target pitches for the month’s issue that is relevant to your subject matter. If in March there is a special on Spring Fashion try to pitch (several months in advance) to editors for that particular issue. Do not waste editor’s times with pitches that are irrelevant to what they write about because this makes you look careless and unprofessional.
9. Think outside the box
Reporters are constantly receiving pitches so when coming up with a pitch keep in mind that they probably have already heard something like it. So what will make your pitch stand out? Something atypical, something that you have not seen in the news before, or something that would be of great interest to the general public. Sell people on its uniqueness, the qualities or attributes that you have that NO ONE else has (these should also be apparent in your live events and fashion shows). If you don't have those qualities you may need to reconsider your business model.
8. Play the Part
You only get one first impression so make it a good one. Your website, images, look book, and press materials should be clean and professional. If they do not pass that test then do not start contacting press and buyers until they are or you can give yourself a bad image regardless of the actual quality of your line. You want to be the fashion world's next craze – so play the part. If you've spent thousands on a great new website, have your contact email in the format of firstname.lastname@example.org and not at a generic Yahoo or Gmail account.
7. The Power of Follow-up
Reporters have countless people contacting them with story-ideas, press materials and tips so it is not unlikely that they may have overlooked what you sent over or simply forgot about it. It isn't enough to simply send materials over; a follow-up email and phone call to ensure that they received the materials is essential.
6. In Spirit
It's never only about the clothes. Elaborate on the artistry, image, and story behind your line. The spirit behind your clothes should permeate your collection and should not be left to question. That said, social media really allows you, as a designer, a wealth of tools at your disposal to express this spirit such as product placement in the appropriate shows, live event promotion, music videos on YouTube, downloadable desktop themes, etc.
5. Be Mindful of the Publisher’s Calendar
Some fashion publications work up to 6 months in advance, plan accordingly and note the season and timing for when the edition will actually hit the presses. Plan ahead, reap the rewards. Fashion editorials can be a designer’s bread and butter. A great relationship with the press cannot be stressed enough. Don’t be afraid to try fashion publications outside of your immediate area. If you’re an American designer, the attention of a magazine in the UK, or Japan, for instance, should be welcomed attention.
4. Create Your Own PR Calendar
This timetable should display all brand items, allowing you the necessary vantage point of a bird's eye view for your collection. Plan in advance, apply your company strategy, budget your resources, step back and see what could use improvement. A PR calendar can be anywhere from weekly to quarterly depending on the complexity of your collection(s).
3. Stay Fresh
Stay current with all your fashion PR efforts. Push new press releases out regularly. Check your social networking pages such as Twitter and MySpace, expand your customer base, and keep in touch with your existing fan base. If you're site and marketing materials still say © 2008, it is time to change that. Remember, with fashion PR, out of sight is out of mind.
2. Get out there
Go to industry events, networking events and join associations and groups with other fashion industry members. Live events, fashion shows, and in-person promotions are necessities. While sites like Twitter can be catalysts for making connections, there is no substitute for a live appearance. With all other things being equal, people do business with friends and fashion PR is ALL about building and maintaining relationships.
1. Be your own biggest fan
I can't begin to tell you how many designers don't wear their own product out to events or even go out to events in the first place. As a designer it is most important that you love and promote your product because no one can sell it like you. Be out at fashion events mingling with industry insiders and be sure to be wearing your designs. Don't be modest about telling people you made it and why it is so special. Confidence about your own product is absolutely mandatory.
About the Author
Polina Raygorodskaya is an acclaimed analyst and public relations specialist for the fashion industry. As president of Polina Fashion LLC, she has addressed the marketing and public relations needs of countless up and coming designers. For more information, please visit www.polinafashion.com or email info[at]polinafashion.com.
Photo courtesy of Marta L. Lamovšek